Australian Council on Children and the Media

Pacific Rim

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Not suitable under 10, not recommended 10-13, PG to 15 (Violence; Scary and disturbing scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Pacific Rim
  • a review of Pacific Rim completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 July 2013.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 10 Not suitable due to violence and scary and disturbing scenes
Children 10 - 13 Not recommended due to violence and scary and disturbing scenes
Children 15 and over OK for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Pacific Rim
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction violence
Length 131 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Pacific Rim is set in the near future when gigantic creatures called Kaiju emerge from an inter-dimensional portal in the floor of the Pacific Ocean and wreak havoc on humanity, destroying cities and killing millions of people. To fight these monsters, the people of the world band together and build giant combat robots called Jaegers, which require the simultaneous operation of two pilots whose minds are connected by a neural bridge. Two such Jaeger pilots are the brothers Yancy and Raleigh Becket (Diego Klattenholf and Charlie Hunnam). Initially Yancy and Raleigh, piloting their Jaeger, are able to defeat the Kaiju, but when bigger and smarter Kaiju start appearing the balance tips in favour of the Kaiju. Yancy is killed in battle and their Jaeger all but destroyed. Unable to cope with the loss of his brother, Raleigh abandons his life as a Jaeger pilot and disappears.

 Five years later, with humanity on the brink of annihilation, Raleigh’s old commanding officer Marshal Stacker Pentecost (Idris Elba) is determined to make one final stand. He tracks down Raleigh, his finest Jaeger pilot and reinstates him, pairing Raleigh up with rookie Jaeger co-pilot Mako Mori (Rinko Kikuchi). Mako has a personal vendetta against the Kaiju who destroyed her entire family when she was a young girl.

 As the final hour approaches, two research scientists Dr. Newton Geiszler (Charlie Day) and Gottieb (Burn Gorman) make a discovery that might give Raleigh and Mako one last chance. 

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

World annihilation; alien creatures; loss of a family member

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

Pacific Rim contains frequent and prolonged sequences of intense science-fiction action violence between alien monsters and manned robots, resulting in mass destruction and death. The film also contains violence between humans. Examples include:

  • There are frequent violent clashes between Kaiju (reptilian monsters) and Jaegers (giant robots) of epic proportion resulting in mass destruction and devastation. During the battles we see Jaegers using their giant fists to smash and pummel the Kaiju’s heads and wield spinning blades and giant swords which they use to sever limbs, tails and heads from Kaiju. Jaegers also use massive weapons which they fire at the Kaijus blasting massive holes in the monsters’ bodies.  One monster is left on the ground with its chest and abdomen blown open, exposing its insides, and copious amounts of glowing bluish blood pouring out of wounds.
  • Throughout the film Kaiju destroy entire cities, with massive skyscrapers exploding in flames and collapsing to the ground.
  • Kaiju inflict horrific damage upon the Jaeger robot machines, using their talons to rip arms from the robots and punch giant gaping holes through their armoured chests. One Kaiju uses an armoured horn protruding from its head to impale a Jaeger through its chest, while another bites a Jaeger’s head off. One Kaiju spews acid that instantly melts the chest of a Jaeger on contact and hits a skyscraper building, instantly dissolving a large section of it.
  • One Kaiju violently rips open a Jaeger’s chest cavity, reaches inside with its clawed hand and pulls one of two pilots from the cavity; we see the pilot lifted up into the air and later hear that he was killed. The other pilot crawls out of the smoking wrecked Jaeger with a bloody nose, blood on the side of his mouth, bloody claw marks on his shoulder and blood smeared over his abdomen.
  • A Kaiju rips the head from a submerged Jaeger robot with the head exploding. The cabin space fills with water and we hear later that the two pilots were drowned.  
  • One perilous scene depicts a fishing trawler foundering in a hurricane. A gigantic Kaiju rises up out of the water to threaten the trawler and its crew but the trawler is picked up out of the ocean and rescued by a Jaeger.
  • An unborn Kaiju breaks out of its dead mother’s body to attack a man. The baby Kaiju appears to collapse dead on the ground before reaching the man, but then comes back to life to swallow a second man before dying. In a later scene the swallowed man uses a knife to cut his way out of the dead baby Kaiju.                
  • There is a brutal fistfight between two Jaeger pilots during which one pilot repeatedly punches the other in the face with the man at one point spitting out a mouthful of blood. Arms are twisted and we hear a sound as if bones are breaking. Eventually the fight is broken up with both of the men having to be restrained by other men.
  • In one scene, two Jaeger pilots carrying a nuclear bomb aboard their Jaeger sacrifice their lives by detonating the bomb.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • The film is filled with dozens of scary monsters which are likely to terrify children in this age group.
  • Several scenes contain images of a man who has spontaneous nose bleeds.
  • After a scientist’s mind melds with the brain of a dead Kaiju, blood trickles out of his nose and one of his eyes fills with blood.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • In emotional scenes a giant crab-like monster chases a terrified a vulnerable young girl (five-seven-years-old), the monster chases the young girl through debris filled streets using its claws to rip up streets in a bid to get at her. The monster eventually corners her in a dead-end ally, but the girl is rescued by a Jaeger just before the monster attacks her. 
  • In a couple of scenes we see detailed images of a dissected Kaiju’s gigantic internal organs and gigantic live slater-like parasites being placed into containers. One scene depicts men in environmental suits entering the body cavity of a dead Kaiju in a bid to salvage the dead Kaiju’s organs.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

Children in this age group are also likely to be disturbed by many of the above mentioned scenes.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Younger children in this age group may also be disturbed by some of the above-mentioned scenes

Product placement

None of concern in the film, but associated toys etc being marketed to children

Sexual references

Pacific Rim contains some sexual innuendo. Examples include:

  • A man is asked how his date with a girl went, to which he replied that the girl liked it but her boyfriend didn’t.
  • A man selling black-market Kaiju organs implies that Kaiju bone powder is a powerful aphrodisiac by making a crude gesture inferring an erection.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some partial nudity and sexual activity, including:

  • A woman looks admiringly at a man’s naked chest. When the man looks at the woman she becomes flustered and walks away but then eyes the man through a peephole in her door.
  • Both male and female pilots wearing form fitting suits and a woman wears a tank top that reveals bare shoulders and cleavage. 

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • In several scenes we see an army officer swallow a pill from a metal box after he suffers nose bleeds; we later learn that the nose bleeds are the result of radiation poisoning.  

Coarse language

The film contains medium-level coarse language and name calling throughout. Examples include:

  • the word arse is used several times in a variety of ways
  • “oh my god”; “god damned”;  “Christ’s sake”, “holy Jesus”,
  • “silly bastard”; “crap”;  “bitches”; “son of a bitch”; “screw you”; “shit”; “pissed off”; “moron”

In a nutshell

Pacific Rim is a science-fiction action adventure directed by Guillermo Del Toro, who directed Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth.  The film’s action and special effects are likely to entertain adolescents, but it may also attract younger children, particularly those who have seen the associated toys. Parents are therefore warned that the film’s M rating is deserved. It is definitely not recommended for under 13s because of its violent and disturbing scenes, involving destruction and intense battles between scary monsters and giant robots. Parental guidance is recommended to 15, because younger teens may also be disturbed by some scenes.

The main message from this movie is that people working together, especially on a global scale, can triumph over almost insurmountable odds. Many of the humans demonstrate bravery, perseverance and self sacrifice. Parents of older children may wish to discuss what the film could teach us about combatting the real threats to our world such as natural disasters, wars, famine or large scale terrorist attacks.

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